The New York Times – Stephen Castle / Theresa May Vows to Set a Date for Stepping Down as U.K. Prime Minister
- Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain promised this Thursday that she would set a date to step down as the country’s leader, starting the countdown to the end of one of the most troubled premierships in current British history. The chairman of the party committee, Graham Brady, said in his statement that Theresa May had agreed to set the timetable after another looming parliamentary vote on her plan to remove Britain from the European Union.
- In the past, she had agreed to step down if her Brexit plan — that has failed thrice — won approval in the Parliament. Now, she has effectively agreed to leave whether her plan passes or not. Boris Johnson is the frontrunner, but other figures such as Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab or Andrea Leadsom have been included in the race
- Theresa May’s successor will, however, inherit the same constraints that apparently have left Britain no closer to a smooth exit from the European Union than it was three years ago, when Britons voted to leave.
The Atlantic – Yasmeen Serhan / In an Echo of the Iraq War, the U.S. and Europe Are Split on Iran
- France and Germany were dismissed by George Bush as “old Europe” when they opposed the USA led invasion of Iraq in 2003, even as it prosecuted the war with Britain by its side. More than a decade later, Washington and all its major partners across the Atlantic find themselves on opposing sides again—this time, over how to deal with Iran. The issue of Iran has been greatly divisive for the USA and its European partners.
- The Trump administration and its allies in France, Germany, and Britain have been at bitter odds over Iran since President Donald Trump made the decision last year to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear agreement and reintroduce great sanctions on Tehran. Europeans are struggling to keep the agreement alive, but more American pressure on Iran makes retaliation more likely.
- That Britain —which, unlike France and Germany, joined Washington’s “coalition of the willing” in the 2003 invasion—was among the first to voice its opposition to further escalation against Iran signals that Trump could struggle to rally U.S. allies in the West if tensions were to increase. Besides, even if European leaders were to change their mind, it is unlikely that their publics would do the same: Europeans overwhelmingly opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The Washington Post – Daniel Paquette & Lena H. Sun / With more than 1,100 dead, Congo’s Ebola outbreak is only getting worse. Now doctors are forced to go undercover.
- The death toll in the central African country reached 1,136 this week, government officials said. The infection count, meanwhile, has climbed to 1,632 — with 88 more suspected, Congo’s Ministry of Health said. Concerns are growing that the crisis in Congo’s North Kivu province could become as lethal as West Africa’s battle against the hemorrhagic fever from 2013 to 2016, which killed 11,310 people across three countries.
- The WHO Director General, Tedros Ashanom stated that “the tragedy is that we have the technical means to stop Ebola, but until all parties halt attacks on the response, it will be very difficult to end this outbreak”. An assault on a hospital last April killed a Cameroonian epidemiologist, which drove hundreds of Congolese doctors and nurses into the streets to ask for more security.
- Experts are urging the global community to pour more resources into Congo’s struggle. J. Stephen Morrison, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies defended that “we’re at a breaking point [..] violent attacks are winning, and infections are unchecked.”
Foreign Affairs – Ankit Panda & Vipin Narang / Why North Korea Is Testing Missiles Again
- After 522 days without a ballistic missile test, North Korea has been launching them again. On May 4, two months after the failed Hanoi summit, Pyongyang fired a new type of solid-fuel short range ballistic missile and tested two separate multiple rocket launch systems. Any hope that the test was a one-off disappeared just five days later, when North Korea again launched several of the new short range ballistic missiles. South Korea and USA have downplayed these tests’ significance.
- In order to be sure, Kim hasn’t broken any promises he has made to the USA since 2018. North Korea’s self-imposed moratorium on missile testing, declared explicitly in April of that year, applied only to intercontinental range ballistic missiles (ICBMs). In an interview following the May 4 test, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the United States believes that North Korea remains in compliance.
- Not coincidentally, North Korea conducted its most recent missile tests just after the United States and South Korea commenced a new joint military exercise, known as Dong Maeng. This has been analyzed by Kim as part of Washington´s “hostile policy”. Concerning the motives behind Kim’s decision, Testing short-range conventional missiles not only boosts the morale of Kim’s forces but satisfies bureaucratic hard-liners that Kim will indeed pursue a “new way” if the United States fails to relieve sanctions.
- Momentum for a return to the working-level dialogue appears to be quickly disappearing. If the administration hopes to resurrect that dialogue with North Korea on its nuclear weapons program, it would do well to take Kim’s end-of-year deadline seriously. To do so it will require reexamining U.S. objectives. A good deal—one that reduces risks and at least begins to slow the growth of the North Korean nuclear and missile programs—is preferable to an utopic quest for the “final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.”
The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.